Jessica and I had a whole conversation about this project before we realized we were each referring to different ones — she thought this was the Halle Bailey one (I somehow missed that they cast Awkwafina as Scuttle and Jacob Tremblay as Scuttle), but no, that’s a big-screen Disney adaptation, and this is just Disney-owned ABC getting in on the televised live-musical craze via its Wonderful World of Disney shingle. Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) is Ariel, Queen Latifah is Ursula, Shaggy is Sebastian, John Stamos is the French chef, and Graham Phillips – a.k.a. Alicia Florrick’s son on The Good Wife — is Prince Eric, a non-singing part that seems wasted on a kid with a musical-theatre background, unless they’re added a new song for him. Oh, and Glee’s Amber Riley is credited as “emcee/herself,” which… sure?
Auli’i has a lovely voice, but she looks kind of wacky in the red wig with the red brows. Please, observe the TV ad, in which she is staring at the camera with some slightly concerning crazy eyes:
Latifah seems the right amount of hammy and self-aware and fun for Ursula. And then Shaggy pops up, laughing like, “I KNOW RIGHT?!? I’m Mr. Boombastic! WTF?? THIS IS HILARIOUS.” And Stamos looks like he’s trying to seduce you, and then Graham shows up and he’s like, “I think you are in good hands with me but I’m not TOTALLY sure why I’m doing this?!” Up in the poster, Shaggy looks like Kenan Thompson playing Shaggy playing Sebastian, and Stamos looks like he’s wearing a cupcake on his head. It’s A VIBE.
What say you? Are you in? I am not sure I needed this much Little Mermaid in my life, although I look forward to any opportunity to discuss with you all how much her sisters must eyeroll the fact that not only are they being forced to sing a song about how Triton “named us well,” but THEY all have names that both start and end with A, and yet special little Ariel got one that has a DIFFERENT letter at the end and how it’s BLATANT FAVORITISM.